How to make portrait paintings from photographs

How to make portrait paintings from photographs



It is no brainer that a conventional portrait painting requires a model. Live portrait drawings are far too tricky because you need to understand the subtle details immediately before their angles slightly change.


Especially when it comes to the portraits of kids, drawing live is a pickle. Most of the time pausing a smile, and keeping muscle strength for a pose for hours is impossible.


This is why many artists tend to use a reference picture in order to produce a quality portrait. So, what makes a good portrait painting that is based on a photograph?


Follow these tips to get started on how to paint a portrait from photos and you’ll never ask that question again.


  1. Choosing the correct picture


Choosing the correct reference picture to begin portrait painting from photography is as crucial as your end result.


If you choose a poor quality photograph, your eyes won’t recognize the small details that should be drawn. So, find a quality photograph and zoom in a little to scrutinize if you can work with it. If you feel like you can’t make out some parts of the picture because it’s blurry, don’t use it.


Say you’re working with a black and white photograph and it’s not up to par with the details. As a quick solution, you can increase its shadows. This will expose the photograph’s true details.

portrait painting - BW

Free-Photos / Pixabay


  1. Look at the big picture


Over Focusing on the details is the first mistake that most beginner artists make. Regardless of how talented you are, this can throw you off track. Instead, gaze at your reference picture a while, then draw the most important lines. For instance, look at the distance from the person’s nose to ears, nose to mouth, how big the forehead is, etc. and draw the outlines of the face.